Intrigued by this comment
What I want to know is why cycle lanes are not being designed into every new development? We have a massive “Eco” development near us – Upton, Northampton – and there is not one cycle lane designed into the road layout.
below a post from the Lo-Fidelity Bicycle Club, I felt compelled to investigate.
It seems a new town/village, Upton, is being built to the west of Northampton, to the south of the Weedon Road, which connects Northampton to the M1. According to the Design Code documents for the development, available from Northampton Borough Council here,
This Design Code and the Urban Framework for Upton, as illustrated on Figure 2.1, are based upon key development principles promoting sustainable urban growth and creation of a distinctive, enduring environment. In line with the ODPM’s ‘Sustainable Communities Plan’, established in 2003, the Upton project seeks to address the issues of sustainability at a number of different levels.
To reduce reliance on cars and encourage a walkable environment, public transport facilities will be in place at the early stages of implementation.
Sounds good. A new eco-town, designed around ‘sustainable growth’ principles, that reduces reliance on cars, and encourages walking. This is the kind of thing we need!
How do you get in and out of this development? Well, it seems that in 2009, a major access road was opened.
New road to open the way for 12,000 homes
A new £17 million road linking an industrial estate with a main dual carriageway in Northampton has been officially opened to drivers. The one-mile stretch, named Upton Valley Way North, links the A45 Weedon Road with the new Swan Valley development, and has been built to open up land for 12,000 homes in the Upton area. Mayor of Northampton Brian Markham cut the ribbon to declare it open and led a procession of the first cars to test the award-winning road at its opening yesterday.
Steve Collins, senior regeneration manager for the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which incorporates English Partnership, said the project showed planners were keen to put in infrastructure before going ahead with any house-building projects. Mr Collins, who addressed villagers from nearby Kislingbury, dignitaries and guests at the Weedon Road junction of Upton Valley Way North, said: “A lot of objections to housing growth has been the ability to provide infrastructure. I think the Government has listened hard to that message. This is an excellent example of the Government investing a lot of time in delivering infrastructure before growth. What that does is open land for growth in a plan that has been allocated for a long time.”
I’m getting the distinct impression from this news story that this road is for ‘cars’ and ‘drivers’. But surely this can’t be the case? Not in a new development designed to ‘reduce reliance on cars’?
Well, here’s what the ‘infrastructure’ of Upton Valley Way North looks like, at the junction with Weedon Road, courtesy of Google Streetview –
I can’t think of a better way to reduce reliance on cars and encourage a walkable environment than by inserting a stupid number of filter lanes, large radius bends, pedestrian holding pens, and further anti-personnel fences that ring the corners of this junction. Can you? Presumably that’s a crappy shared-use pavement on the left. Or not. Not that it really matters. Sod off, cyclists. What do you think this is? An eco-town?
If we turn to the left, we see that Weedon Road itself looks even easier to cross on foot.
Again, count the pedestrian sheep-pens.
Further into town, we have the spot where the Upton development fronts onto Weedon Road, which apparently is going to be a ‘boulevard.’
Crossing Weedon Road here – from the right of this picture – to the eco-town on the left will require four separate light signals.
This same scene, from the plan of Upton. The new eco-buildings are marked in red, to the south. Weedon Road runs east-west. The pink strips mark out the crossings. I notice that to traverse on the east of the junction seems to involve five separate crossings.
A ‘walkable environment’?
Nice trees though.
An artist’s impression of the ‘Weedon boulevard’. Notice the ‘provision’ for cyclists – the pavement.